Category Archives: Music

Handel’s “Messiah” Saturday at the Rozsa

Messiahby Bethany Jones

Tickets are now on sale for a concert that celebrates a glorious rite of the Christmas Season. The Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra and Michigan Tech Choirs, along with renowned guest vocalists, present the beloved Christmas masterpiece, Handel’s “Messiah.”

The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 10), in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

Among the guest performers are: Baritone Nathan Herfindahl; Soprano Jennifer D’Agostino; Mezzo-soprano Sandra Loy; and Tenor Clark Sturdevant. The performance is conducted by Jared Anderson, chair of the department of visual and performing arts.

Tickets are $19 for adults, $6 for youth and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee.

For ticket information and more, read the full story.



“The Studio for Here and Now” Shares Art and Readings in an Open Studio Event

Anne BeffelThe Department of Visual and Performing Arts presents an open house, exhibition and reception of “The Studio for Here and Now,” a space for work by Professor Anne Beffel, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. today (Nov. 10) in Wadsworth Hall, G04W (located in the lower level of Wadsworth Hall across from the WMTU radio station).

“The Studio for Here and Now” serves as a place for creative community members to meet, share work and discuss ideas. This evening you are free to wander “The Studio for Here and Now” and experience some of the projects and thinking that evolves in the space.

Anne Beffel, professor of Art in Visual and Performing Arts, will give a short talk on her research from 7 to 7:20 p.m. Information on studio happenings will also be provided. “The Studio for Here and Now” is supported by the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Michigan Tech. This event is free and open to the public.

By Bethany Jones


Backstage at Rozsa Celebrates 50 Years of Jazz at Tech

9d3fd38403e31e207286e7b17e99edcab2f979fc (1)Backstage at the Rozsa” again opens its doors to the groovin’ sounds of big band jazz to celebrate the 50th year of Jazz Studies at Michigan Tech.

The Research & Development Big Band and the Jazz Lab Band will present a program featuring both the old and new—vintage and contemporary. A wide variety of tunes will be featured; Latin, mainstream, funk, ballads, rock and swing.

The Rozsa stage becomes a pop-up jazz club, and the intimate club atmosphere is a perfect setting for the Research & Development  (R&D) Big  Band and the Jazz Lab Band to loosen the reins on creativity and capture the flow of jazz!

Join Jazz Studies Program Director Mike Irish and the Michigan Tech Jazz ensembles for Jazz Showcase, “Backstage at the Rozsa” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (Oct. 21-22).

According to Irish, “There will be two ‘Backstage Jazz Series’ again this year, culminating in a finale concert on Saturday, March 25, featuring both big bands, guest artists and a return of the always popular Alumni Jazz Band.”

Elaborating about the history and excitement of Jazz, Irish says “Jazz was  born in the ‘tonks and joints’ of Storyville in New Orleans, and has always found a home in the small but lively entertainment venues throughout the  world—the “speakeasies” of Chicago, the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, the Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan, Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem, Birdland in New York, Ronnie Scott’s in London, the Town Tavern in Toronto, the  A—Trane in Berlin, the Shaft in Istanbul, the Blue Note and Vanguard in New York and the Orpheum in Hancock.”

Irish says “Jazz is now enjoyed and practiced all over the world, and is  one of America’s greatest cultural exports. So sit back, and immerse yourself in the music. In the words of jazz legend Art Blakey, ‘Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life.'”

Tickets for “Backstage Jazz at the Rozsa” are on sale now, $13 for adults, $5 for youth and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee.

Tickets are available by phone at 7-2073, online at Rozsa.mtu.edu, in person at the Central Ticketing Office or at the Rozsa Box Office the evening of the performance. Note the Rozsa Box Office only opens two hours prior to performances.


Pep Band Pre-Celebrates “50 Years of Be-striped Peppiness!”

173b3e1ec83385f368cc1ed7a32a5ab773e62927The Michigan Tech Huskies Pep Band pre-celebrates 50 years of be-striped peppiness in its inimitable concert style at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (Oct.) in the Rozsa Center.

Not yet experienced the sound and sight sensation that is the Huskies Pep Band? They are a true sensory extravaganza. The Huskies Pep Band is a Michigan Tech point of pride and one of the most lauded pep bands in the Midwest. Members dressed in “bumble-bee” stripes perform at concerts, athletic events, parades and special events all around Houghton and support Michigan Tech teams on the road as well.

The Huskies Pep Band is a nationally-known Division I pep band of nearly 250 members that performs at all home football, basketball and hockey games.

The band was selected as the host band to the WCHA Final Five Tournament in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

What can you expect at the concert? According to Director of Bands Michael Christianson (VPA), “… As the Huskies Pep Band becomes ‘almost golden’ as a ‘scramble band,’ they are ‘concerned’ about their ‘legacy’ of ‘music-making’ and ‘stylish dress’ and their ‘failure to yet achieve the gold.’ Please join us in our concert/therapy session as we loudly and flamboyantly try to work out ‘our issues’ in ‘our own special way'”

Tickets for Almost Golden at the Rozsa Center are on sale now, $13 for adults, $5 for youth, and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Tickets are available by phone at 7-2073, online at Rozsa.mtu.edu, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex.

by Bethany Jones


Grammy Winner Jerry Blackstone To Conduct Honors Choir Festival

fac5e5d9a73ad485410d1448022185a7f3ee9731The Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts and the department of visual and performing arts (VPA) presents “Honors Choir Festival” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8 in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

The concert contemplates the forces of nature and weather in its many forms; springtime, a thunderstorm, a prairie fire and the Schoolchildren’s Blizzard of 1888.

The Choirs of Michigan Tech and the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra welcome singers from Northern Michigan University and upper peninsula high schools to perform Ēriks Ešenvalds’ “Whispers on the Prairie Wind,” under the direction of Jerry Blackstone, the Grammy Award winning director of choral activities at the University of Michigan. The KSO will also present Beethoven’s Symphony no.6 in F Major (Pastoral), conducted by Jared Anderson.

By Bethany Jones


Music O Rama: Celebrating John and Biruta Lowther

82783a59e1337c6e3ea2a469b341525360d6b160The Department of Visual and Performing Arts presents “Music O Rama” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 1) at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

“Music O Rama,” an annual musical variety concert, will be held this year in honor of a couple that has spent many years participating in the Arts at Michigan Tech. This concert is sponsored by John and Biruta Lowther, in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary. The Lowthers and their family took part in many of Michigan Tech’s various music ensembles.

The celebration will feature performances by conScience, Superior Wind Symphony and Jazz Lab Band. According to John Lowther, “We wanted to celebrate our 50th anniversary and express our appreciation to the music department for the years of music our family has enjoyed. I played in the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra for a number of years. Our son played in the Pep Band and sang in the Concert Choir. Biruta and I enjoyed singing together in the Concert Choir.”

Tickets are on sale now, $13 for adults, $5 for youth, and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Tickets are available by phone at 7-2073, online, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex or at the Calumet Theatre Box Office.

by Bethany Jones


Helskinki Chamber Choir Presents World Premier of ‘State of the Union’

HKK-2011-8616The Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts presents “State of the Union” performed by the Helsinki Chamber Choir, on Sunday, October 2, 7:30 PM.

“State of the Union” (SOTU), by Eugene Birman and Scott Diel, is a 40-minute operatic work for twelve voices, a bold new opera addressing the pressing political and environmental issues of our time.

According to the Rabbit Island Foundation,The opera condemns no one and everyone, yet its finale doles out redemption to those open to it. SOTU is four characters – the environment, the rich, the middle class, and the poor – meeting and interacting over seven movements. It reflects a belief that many of our problems stem from how we view and treat one another. As a society we too often equate wealth with wisdom, and poverty with personal shortcomings. This work pushes forward the genre of classical music and also advances the medium to underscore a new subject: humanity’s relationship to its natural environment in the context of modern society.”

According to Birman, “SOTU’s relationship to the very beginning of opera is quite strong, in that opera was invented as a genre for communicating revolutionary ideas. But political and conventional limitations on the form were nevertheless too limiting, so it was quickly subsumed into ‘music as entertainment’. SOTU is commentary on that role, for while the piece will be entertaining, I see its purpose as bringing opera back to what it was meant to be… as a Gesamtkunstwerk with a specific purpose, not just one that brings together art forms for the delight of audiences. I think that the genre needs this shake-up because it has, with each new addition, become more and more anachronistic and baroque—ultimately, irrelevant and silly.”

The opera was conceiveEugene_and_Scottd in 2015 while Juilliard-trained composer Eugene Birman and librettist Scott Diel spent sixteen days on Rabbit Island. Part opera seria, part satire, SOTU considers environmental crisis, economic inequality, and the general obliviousness of society’s confused march forward.

The Helsinki Chamber Choir is the leading vocal group from Finland, and one of the most notable contemporary choirs in all of Europe. Rabbit Island, a 91 acre forested island in Lake Superior three miles east of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, is held under a conservation easement granted by the Keweenaw Land Trust, and supports programs fostering science, art, preservation and recreation. Rabbit Island is a laboratory for artists to consider the modern relationship between art and the environment, and this is what Birman and Diel have done.

Birman and Diel will present their work, State of the Union (SOTU), in its world premier tour first in Marquette, Michigan, on the campus of Northern Michigan University, then on to the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts in Houghton, MI then Interlochen, Michigan, and culminating in New York City. SOTU has been brought to life thanks to generous support from the Rabbit Island Foundation, Northern Michigan University’s Northern Nights concert series, DeVos Art Museum, the Finlandia Foundation, the Finnish Cultural Foundation, and the U.P. Beaumier Heritage Center.

We are particularly excited to welcome the Helsinki Chamber Choir to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where a large percentage of residents can trace their roots back to Finnish immigrants.  In the U.P. we proudly celebrate Finnish language, culture, sauna, surnames and, of course, sisu.

The Helsinki Chamber Choir (Helsingin kamarikuoro) was founded in 1962 as the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir and assumed its current name in 2005. It is currently Finland’s only professional chamber choir. The choir’s Artistic Director from 2005–2007 was Kimmo Hakola. Since 2007 Nils Schweckendiek has been responsible for the group’s artistic planning. While its wide-ranging repertoire includes music from the Renaissance to the present day, the Helsinki Chamber Choir is particularly highly regarded for its work with new music. The choir regularly commissions new works and has given over 50 world premieres in the seasons since 2005, as well as more than 30 Finnish first performances. The choir appears frequently at major Finnish music festivals and collaborates with orchestras and Baroque and contemporary music ensembles. Recent touring has included concerts in Russia, Estonia and Belgium.

The Helsinki Chamber Choir’s concerts are regularly broadcast on radio and television, both nationally and internationally. Particular highlights have been televised performances on the international cultural channel ARTE of Michael Haydn’s Requiem in 2006 and Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Vigilia in 2013.

The Helsinki Chamber Choir’s recording of Magnus Lindberg’s Graffiti (with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Sakari Oramo) was nominated for a Grammy in the contemporary music category in 2010. During its days as the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir, the group recorded a number of CDs for the Ondine label, including Rautavaara’s complete works for mixed a cappella choir. The choir’s most recent appearance on CD is in the world premiere recording of Veli-Matti Puumala’s opera Anna Liisa (to be released in May 2015). A number of other recordings will appear in the near future.

Since 2012 the Helsinki Chamber Choir has been a member of Tenso, the association of European professional chamber choirs.

The Finnish Radio Chamber Choir’s principal conductors were Harald Andersén, Kaj-Erik Gustafsson, Ilmo Riihimäki, Eric-Olof Söderström and Timo Nuoranne. Alongside Nils Schweckendiek, in recent years the choir has worked with conductors including Kaspars Putnins, Fredrik Malmberg, Eric-Olof Söderström, Andres Mustonen, Olari Elts, Rachid Safir, Tim Brown, Anne Azéma, Aapo Häkkinen, James Wood and Rinaldo Alessandrini.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Michigan Tech Ticketing Services at the Central Ticket Office (SDC), at 906-487-2073, or go online at rozsa.mtu.edu.

By Bethany Jones


Musical Variety Concert Honors Lowther Family

JohnBirutaWeddingPlease join us for Music O Rama, an annual musical variety concert, that will be held this year in honor of a couple that has spent many years participating in the Arts at Michigan Tech.

This concert is sponsored by John and Biruta Lowther, in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary.

The Lowthers and their family members took part in many of Michigan Tech’s various music ensembles. The celebration will feature performances by conScience, Superior Wind Symphony, and Jazz Lab Band.

According to John Lowther, “We wanted to celebrate our 50th anniversary and express our appreciation to the music department for the years of music our family has enjoyed. I played in the KSO for a number of years. Our son played in the Pep Band and sang in the Concert Choir. Biruta and I enjoyed singing together in the Concert Choir.”

The Department of Visual and Performing Arts presents “Music O Rama” on Saturday, October 1, at 7:30 PM at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

According to Jared Anderson, Chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department and Director of Choral Activities, “Music-O- Rama is a fast-paced music variety show that features many of the instrumental and vocal ensembles at Michigan Tech. Along with performances by the Jazz Lab Band, Superior Wind Symphony, and conScience: Michigan Tech Chamber Singers, this event will feature student led combos and small ensembles as well as compositions from sound students in the Visual and Performing Arts Department. This year the concert will feature music by Louis Armstrong, Gustav Holst, and John Philip Sousa along with selections from the musical theatre stage. This annual concert is quickly becoming an audience favorite. It’s a great way to kick off the music season at the Rozsa Center.”

Tickets are on sale now, $13 for adults, $5 for youth, and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Tickets are available by phone at (906) 487-2073, online at Rozsa.mtu.edu, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex, or at the Calumet Theatre Box Office.

By Bethany Jones


Free Outdoor Concert on Rozsa Lawn

d81509f0f88714620c9a90b5381a261eea3303dfBring your lawn chairs, bring your blankets as the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts presents “An Old Fashioned Twilight Concert,” 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18 on the Rozsa/Walker lawn.

The free outdoor concert is put on by Michael Christianson, Michigan Tech’s director of bands, with a performance by the Superior Wind Symphony, in which they will celebrate the birthday of the godfather of band concerts, John Philip Sousa.

Spend a beautiful fall evening full of band music outdoors on the lawn. In the event of rain, the show will move inside, to the McArdle Theatre on the second floor of the Walker Center.

Christianson says, “at the zenith of the wind band’s popularity, crowds would flock to the park to hear the great John Philip Sousa play a mixture of marches, folk songs, popular music of recent times, masterworks and featured soloists from within the band….outdoors.”

Christianson says the concern, held one week before Sousa’s birthday, will reference music of that golden era, (Sousa, Holst, Kreisler) but will also update some items (John Williams, Frank Ticheli, Hoagy Carmichael) to be more pertinent today.

“Bring your blanket, your dinner and spread out on the lawn as you enjoy a classic Band moment with Michigan Tech’s Superior Wind Symphony,” he says.

More information is available online.

Read more at Tech Today, by Bethany Jones